Elusive XF40 1849 Mormon Gold1849 $5 Mormon Five Dollar XF40 PCGS. K-2, R.5. The Mormon coinage was an important development in the history of private gold coinage, as related by Donald Kagin: "Of all the fascinating tales of pioneer numismatic history, few can compare with the Mormons and the development of their coinage. Under the guidance of one of the major leaders in American history, Brigham Young, the Mormons significantly influenced the entire history of the West. Among their numismatically related accomplishments was the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, the public announcement of that discovery and the subsequent promotion of the gold mining industry in California, the issuance of the first American $20 gold piece, and, finally, the introduction of an entirely new alphabet and its use on a coin."
Despite widespread acceptance within the Mormon community, these "Valley Coins" were unpopular outside Utah. Contemporary assays, especially those conducted at the New Orleans and Philadelphia mints, showed that the value of these coins ranged from 10% to 20% below face value. The five dollar pieces, for example, were valued at about $4.30 each. These coins were made from native California gold, despite the inscription G.S.L.C.P.G. (Great Salt Lake City Pure Gold). Territorial bankers would only accept these coins at a 25% discount, and most were eventually melted. Today, all of these coins are rare, and the five dollar denomination is a bit more plentiful than the other denominations.
This example, exhibiting light green-gold color, was struck on a defective planchet with a crack from the obverse at 2 o'clock to the center, crossing the three-pointed crown. This planchet crack can also be seen on the reverse. Both sides have minor hairlines and other small abrasions. Listed on page 361 of the 2007 Guide Book. (NGC ID# 2BCE, PCGS# 10262)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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